Bet of the Card: (2.5u) Over 3.5 Rounds @ -128 (to Return 4.45 Units)
(1u) Colby Covington Moneyline @ +260 (to Return 3.6 Units)
(0.5u) Colby Covington via Decision @ +500 (to Return 3 Units)
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2
Main Event – UFC Welterweight (170lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:30 a.m. EST.
- 10 of Kamaru Usman’s last 13 fights have either gone to a 3 round decision or gone over 3.5 rounds.
- Each of Colby Covington’s last 7 fights have gone to a decision or made it over 3.5 rounds, and he’s yet to lose a fight via decision (per Tapology.com).
It seems crazy that it’s been almost 2 years since we saw Usman vs. Covington 1. It was an all-action fight, and although Usman got the finish late in the 5th, it was a closely contested battle throughout. Plenty had Usman up 3 rounds to 1, with a few scoring the inverse in favor of Covington, but I feel like most had it 2-2 going into the penultimate round.
It’s easy to see why the books have once again priced Usman as the favorite, given what our lasting memory of their first fight is, but at around -300, it just feels a bit too much. Afterall, their first fight looked like a coin-flip for the most-part, and now Usman is 100 cents more expensive than what he closed at before their first encounter (per BestFightOdds.com).
For this reason, I like taking the shot on Covington to keep the fight close again, utilizing his range striking to out-land Usman from distance. Usman will, of course, have the power advantage, but with Covington’s evasive style on the feet, this might just play into his gameplan more, if Usman looks to sit down on his punches, with the hopes of scoring a more decisive knockout over his long-time foe.
In addition to my play on Covington’s moneyline, I’m also going to be making a larger play on the fight to go over 3.5 rounds, and Covington to win via decision. It appears as though there’s some recency bias over Usman’s back-to-back KO/TKO wins over Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal, and it’s causing people and the oddsmakers to overlook that Usman has predominantly been a decision fighter at the UFC level, much like Covington. So, for this reason, I’m expecting there to be a reversion to the mean, with both these tough, cardio monsters going to war over a prolonged period, thus producing value on the over, and consequently, Covington via decision, which is his strongest path to victory.
(1.5u) Over 2.5 Rounds @ +100 (to Return 3 Units)
Gian Villante vs. Chris Barnett
Early Preliminary Card - Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:40 p.m. EST.
- 6 of Gian Villante’s last 7 fights have gone over 2.5 rounds.
Gian Villante has stated that this will be his last fight, and I’ll be damned if he’s not ready to put on one last underwhelming, closely fought, 15-minute duel for us.
Neither Villante, nor Barnett, are heralded for their punching power, and although they both have been on the wrong end of KO/TKO losses, they’re not ones for rolling over against someone who isn’t putting an absolute beating on them.
I expect this one to be close on the strike count, with both guys unable to truly start taking over the fight at any point. It could get a little sloppy late, but that’s generally in the bettor’s favor when taking the over in a low-level heavyweight fight.
In most scenarios, I’d take the goes the distance prop over the 2.5 rounds prop, but given that we’ve seen Villante pull one of the most bizarre quit-job/stunts ever against Maurice Greene with less than 2-minutes to go, I don’t mind paying up a little for the extra half round.
(1u) Rose Namajunas Moneyline @ +100 (to Return 2 Units)
Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang 2
Co-Main Event – UFC Strawweight (115lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:45 p.m. EST.
- Rose Namajunas will benefit from a 1-inch height (5' 5" vs. 5' 4") and 2-inch reach (65" vs. 63") advantage (per UFCStats.com).
Namajunas closed as a +170 underdog when she first fought Zhang, back in April. Normally, I’d get up on my soap box and now question her being around even-money, off the back of what was a seemingly low-outcome result, in her remarkable and emphatic head kick KO over Zhang. That said, I actually think the situation justifies this sizable line shift, and I will even argue that it seems a little disrespectful to not have Namajunas chalked up as the favorite in this particular situation.
For starters, historically UFC title rematches have not been favorable to the fighters trying to avenge their loss, particularly those who are competing in immediate rematches, as is the case with Weili Zhang in this fight. I’m not going to dip into this one too much myself, but I’ve included below an MMA On Point video that touches on this short sampled sized phenomenon. Having been produced in August 2019, the video is a little out-of-date, but its takeaways still hold up, and it’s definitely a good watch, and it produces information that is worth considering.
On top of this, Namajunas is the younger fighter by 3 years, and thus she is also the more likely to be making developments. With Trevor Wittman by her side, I tend to think we are only going to see the best Namajunas from here on out, and her showing up mentally fight-ready, is a huge plus for her chances.
Finally, it’s just stylistically a close fight. Namajunas may not have the same power and physicality as Zhang, but her striking is more technical and precise, and that could be the key difference maker in an evenly-matched, high-volume affair. Should the fight hit the mat with Zhang on top, there would be some concern from my side given her raw strength, but there’s no mistaking that Namajunas is the better grappler, and that should aid her in reversing position or working back to her feet.
All in all, this has the makings to be razor tight, but one in which I see Namajunas edging the win due to her technical advantages, as well as her still riding high on the momentum from her KO win against Zhang earlier in the year.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 / UFC 268: Namajunas vs. Zhang 2 / #UFC268
Location & Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, United States
Date: Saturday, November 6th, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims: 8 p.m. EST, Early Prelims: 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on PPV, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelims: ESPN+
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Main Event Prediction
Welterweight (170lbs): Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington – Covington via Decision
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Main Card Predictions
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang – Namajunas via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Frankie Edgar vs. Marlon Vera – Edgar via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo – Burgos via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler – Gaethje via KO/TKO
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Prelim Card Predictions
Middleweight (185lbs): Alex Pereira vs. Andreas Michailidis – Pereira via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Al Iaquinta vs. Bobby Green – Green via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Phil Hawes vs. Chris Curtis – Hawes via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Nassourdine Imavov – Imavov via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Ian Garry vs. Jordan Williams – Garry via KO/TKO
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Early Prelim Card Predictions
Heavyweight (265lbs): Gian Villante vs. Chris Barnett – Villante via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Dustin Jacoby vs. John Allan – Jacoby via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Bruno Souza – Baghdasaryan via KO/TKO
Flyweight (125lbs): C.J. Vergara vs. Ode Osbourne – Osbourne via Submission
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.